Veterinary start-up Nexvet seals $2.5 million seed round

An Australian veterinary medicine developer will use fresh funds to accelerate the clinical and business development of its drug portfolio, after completing a $2.5 million seed funding round.


Nexvet Biopharma is developing specific medicines for companion animals such as cats, dogs and horses, with a focus on inflammatory disease, pain and cancer.


The Nexvet portfolio is composed of species-equivalent versions of biologicals shown to be successful in treating human indicators, converted by Nexvet’s PETisation technology.


The strategic advantage behind PETisation, according to Nexvet, is its utilisation of a ready supply of target antibody drugs with proven effectiveness in humans.


Nexvet, which is completing a number of further key studies, recently signed a licensing deal with a major Japanese animal health company for a canine anti-inflammatory product.


Now the company has closed a $2.5 million seed funding round.


The funding came from a mixture of private investment and government grants, including a “significant investment” from the Trans Tasman Commercialisation Fund, which led the round.


The TTCF is a $30 million open end fund that aims to bring together universities, governments and a capital provider for mutual benefit.


It invests in opportunities and projects whose main purpose is to commercialise technology arising from a collaborating member university.


The technology can be in any sector, including life sciences, information and communications technology, engineering or clean tech.


With the global animal health market estimated to be worth around $20 billion, it’s not surprising Nexvet was able to snare funds through the TTCF, although the amount is unknown.


According to TTCF representative Dr Andrew O’Brien, who will be joining the Nexvet board, Nexvet will be able to capture “an emerging global market opportunity with growing demand”.


“The Nexvet portfolio promises to significantly contribute to the diversity and effectiveness of the drugs available in a number of key indications in the companion animal health market,” O’Brien said in a statement.


“These factors, combined with the strong track record of the team, positions Nexvet well for delivering on value-accretive milestones over the next 12 months and beyond.”


The new funds will be used to accelerate Nexvet’s clinical programs and to further its business development activities, including discussions with a number of international organisations.


Nexvet chief executive Mark Hefferan said in a statement the funds will complement the company’s recent signing of Japanese pharmaceutical company Meiji Seika Pharma.


Meiji Seika Pharma has signed on as a partner for an antibody to treat canine inflammatory conditions.


“The investment will allow the company to deliver on a rapid growth phase, accelerating our product development,” Heffernan said.


“The introduction of TTCF onto the share register brings not only capital but high-quality experience and expertise to the Nexvet team.”


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